Five things we learnt from New Year's Day in the Premier League: Manchester United must address away form; Title race wide open

A look at what we learnt from the first round of top-flight fixtures of 2015

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Southampton are serious top four contenders

The match-up between Southampton and Arsenal saw the teams occupying fourth and fifth in the table come together, split only by goal difference. It was the ideal opportunity for both to show their credentials for a Champions League place and it was Southampton who came up to the mark. A worrying run of results for Ronald Koeman's side looks to have been put behind them with 10 points taken from the last possible 12. But it was the win over Arsenal that will have given the south coast club real confidence that they can go on and finish in the top four. It was also a wake up call to the Gunners that they have a real fight on their hands.

Alan Pardew has something to work with at Crystal Palace

Alan Pardew took in the most boring game of the day when he watched Aston Villa and his new club Crystal Palace play out a 0-0 draw. But aside from nearly falling asleep, he will be pleased to see a team that at least looks like it can defend. That was the Eagles' second clean sheet in as many games.

Manchester United must address away form

Louis van Gaal saw his Manchester United side extend their unbeaten run to 10 games with the draw at Stoke, however it was the third game in four that they only collected one point. The Dutchman admitted after the game that United's away form is starting to become a real concern and results make it clear why. Whilst at Old Trafford eight of their 10 game have been won, on the road there have been just two wins from 10. Had their away record match that of Tottenham's, they would be just four points off the summit rather than nine.

 

Manchester City made perhaps the signing of the season with Frank Lampard

Frank Lampard extended his stay at Manchester City just hours before coming off the bench to score the winning goal in the 3-2 win over Sunderland. It looked like one of those moments that when the season is reviewed will be considered key in the title race. Manuel Pellegrini's side had managed to throw away a two goal lead for the second game in succession but on this occasion they found the crucial fifth goal of the match. His signing from New York City FC looks smarter with every game.

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Lampard celebrates his winning goal

 

This title race is wide open

Chelsea or Manchester City have it in the bag we were told before Christmas. But with City dropping points to Burnley recently and then very nearly doing the same against Sunderland showed that they are never guaranteed the three points. Meanwhile, Chelsea slipped to their second defeat of the season against Tottenham, with the five goals conceded likely to provide real optimism for teams facing them in the future.

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